Editors Angela Johnson and Renée Stewart-Hester traveled out of state and locally (respectively) and share some of their experiences of staying in hotels and an Airbnb during the pandemic.
After months of sticking close to home, I figured an overnight stay at The Hotel Landing in Wayzata might be a good way for me to ease back into travel. More importantly, it provided me with first-hand information to share. Understanding how some hotels are handling COVID-19-related issues might alleviate travelers’ concerns.
Upon my arrival, apart from the signage regarding mask requirements and the hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobby, the first noticeable adaption since the pandemic is the “touch-free check in process.” Plexiglas barriers are placed between registration staff and guests, and I was able to self-swipe my credit card and program my room key.
Worth knowing—staff members at this hotel receive temperature checks upon arriving for their shifts and must wear masks for the duration of the workday. The housekeeping team goes over high-touch areas with a hospital-grade peroxide solution from Ecolab. In public areas, a hospital-grade peroxide hydro-sprayer is used for disinfection. The hotel’s air filters are changed more frequently to ensure optimal air flow. “[It’s] just one extra level of cleanliness,” says Laura Garcia, general manager. “A lot of these practices just make sense and are the right things to do.”
To reduce staff/guest contact, rooms are cleaned after a guest checks out or upon request when guests are out of the room. Decorative pillows and bolsters were removed from the rooms to reduce contact points, and TV remote controls are wrapped in removal plastic sleeves.
The hotel’s dining spot made changes, including allowing fewer seating options and erecting Plexiglas shields between booths. Garcia says the balconies are equipped with ceiling heaters, and motorized shades to help retain heat. Still chilly? Get your hygge on with cozy outdoor blankets provided by the hotel.
Four dining igloos were placed outside the hotel, just off the main entryway. Six family members or four guests are able to dine under twinkle lights while being shielded from the elements.
Ultimately, travelers need to feel comfortable, and if that means calling ahead to inquire about a hotel’s COVID-19 protocol, do it. Many hospitality venues have health safety information on their websites, as does The Hotel Landing. –Renée Stewart-Hester
The Hotel Landing, 925 Lake St. E., Wayzata; 952.777.7900; thehotellanding.com
The U.S. Center for Disease Control says travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, and it’s recommended that travelers protect themselves and others by wearing masks, social distancing and engaging in regular hand washing/sanitizing. Some additional precautions could include:
Handheld Room Sanitizer~
The Nebtec Sanitizer Pro™ 100 provides a micro-spray of disinfectant. We brought this handy pump-action sprayer along for an out-of-state hotel stay. Before unpacking, we misted the entire hotel room with a mixture of electrlytically generated hypochlorous acid (a non-toxic, eco-friendly disinfectant).
Pro tip: Prolonged use of hypocholorus acid can corrode the metal parts inside the sprayer, causing it to get a little leaky over time. So, we stored the sprayer in a small plastic bin during travel. This can be a handy extra measure for car trips, but we don’t recommend trying to pack it in any checked or carry-on bags during air travel.
Portable Air Purifier~
We are hearing more about fresh air and filtration when it comes to spending time indoors, so be sure to crack those windows! Some engineers and medical professionals also suggest air purifiers could help protect from COVID-19 when spending time inside, so long as they have specific filters that can capture small airborne virus particles. We took a portable Medify Air Rx purifier with medical grade filtration along on for a stay at an Airbnb. It was easy to pack (at least for a car ride), and you just plug it in, and turn it on when you arrive. It cleans the air of an approximately 300 square foot room every 30 minutes.
Pro tip: We’re thinking beyond travel to college dorm rooms. In addition, these are great for allergy sufferers since they also eliminate pollen, pet dander and other irritants from the air.